Covid-19? Scary! Covid-19 and breast cancer? Much, much scarier!
Someone going through breast cancer treatment during the current pandemic is especially vulnerable. Their immune systems are compromised and exposure to a virus – any virus – is extremely dangerous!
All the normal fears and anxieties of a breast cancer diagnosis are compounded further with isolation. Testing and treatments may be delayed, causing frustration. Friendships and support systems – critical to a patient’s physical and emotional health – are cut off.
The nation’s economy may be opening back up, but breast cancer patients can’t take chances. They need to remain isolated to the greatest possible degree.
Do you know someone who needs help?
Social distancing may mean no hugs, but you can reach out to a friend or family member and let them know they are in your thoughts. Here are five ways to make life a little brighter for someone with a breast cancer diagnosis.
1. Connect virtually.
FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype… pick one! It seems everyone is linking up on screens during this strange and challenging time. You can even create a private website with your family, friends, or a support group with MyLifeLine.org.
Just listen. Your friend or relative may need to express her or his fears and anxiety. Let them. You don’t need to have all the answers. In fact, they may not be seeking advice from you. They just need you to acknowledge what they are experiencing.
Play. Watch. Read. Start a virtual book club. Everyone can download the same eBook and discuss it. Alternatively, you can order a book and have it delivered to the patient. Play games – there is no shortage of online games you can play together. Watch videos together – everything from feature films and TV series to homegrown content on YouTube.
2. Attend appointments virtually.
they need support the most. So, come along anyway! You can listen to the doctor and take notes and ask questions that your friend may have forgotten. You may not be able to physically hold hands, but you can still be there.
3. Run errands and visit through glass.
Pick up groceries, medications, toilet paper if you can find it. As long as you take precautions and wear your mask, you can take care of business for someone who cannot risk going out. Exchange goods and money at the doorstep while keeping
your distance. Then you can visit and provide a semblance of comfort through a window.
4. Snail mail.
There is something very comforting about receiving cards and letters the old-fashioned way. Email and texting is great for its immediacy. But actually reading something that you took the time and trouble to write and mail is still special. A card sitting within sight is a reminder that they are not alone.
Virtual food is just not that filling. If you are a cook, why not make some meals and deliver them to the patient’s door. Ring the bell and step back. As the advertising jingle goes, “Nothing says loving like something from the oven.” Be sure to follow hand washing guidelines before delivering food. If cooking is not your thing, you can help a restaurant that is struggling by ordering and prepaying a meal to be delivered.
You can make a difference.
It really doesn’t matter what you choose to do to help someone coping with the double whammy of breast cancer and Covid-19. What does matter is that you cared enough to do something. Caring is what it’s all about.